By Ken Ward
For the Observer

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has effected all of us here in Opelika. Rich and poor, old and young – we have all in one way or another had to make changes to our everyday lives because of the pandemic.
With those changes comes some struggles for members of our community – struggles downtown businesses are meeting. The first example of this is Mama Mocha’s Bodega on 1st Avenue, though they are not serving drinks currently, they are, in a way, serving meals. Through their food donation box installed on the outside of the building, Opelika residents in need can pick up non-perishable food items to keep them feed through the economic downturn. Additionally, those who have extra food to spare are encouraged to fill the box with donations.
Another example of a downtown business stepping up is John Emerald Distillery. They, along with the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau, partnered to transform the whisky making operation into a mini hand sanitizer factory. Their sanitizer has been distributed throughout the community, helping keep people clean during this time.
These efforts by two downtown businesses, along with the countless other acts of kindness shared by our various merchants, show the best in humanity and in our community.
Ward is the executive director of Opelika Main Street, a nonprofit organization dedicated to growing and enhancing historic downtown Opelika.